Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.( Romans (;7-14)
What happened to Israel? In view of then transition, between the Old and the New testament, why did the vast majority of Israel seem to reject Jesus and the New Covenant?
First of all, answers Paul, (the one who weep for his country men and would have taken their place in judgment if possible); What do we mean by the term Israel?
Israel is at one and the same time an individual (Jacob) a land, a nation, an ethnic group of people, a culture, a religion, etc. What do we mean by the term ‘Israel”, or more importantly, what does God mean by it? Who is the true Israel of God?
The account of the Patriarchs is all about election. This is the underlayment of the story of Abraham,Isaac,Jacob, Leah and Judah.Who has God chosen to use?
First of all God chose Abraham to be the conduit of blessing to the whole world, not Terah his father or Lot, his nephew.
Abraham had 8 children, but only one of those children was chosen to be part of the conduit of promise, Isaac. Ishmael was born naturally, through an act of surrogacy. Abraham’s later children were born when he remarried after Sarai’s death. Only Isaac was a miracle ‘child of the promise’, and elected by God.
Isaac’s wife Rivkah(Rebecca) had a difficult pregnancy with lots of activity in her womb. She inquired of the Lord about it and received a prophetic word;
And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.(Genesis 25:23)
Two nations, and not two individuals, are the subject of this prophecy. The One nation is chosen, not the other. This is not about personal salvation, but national calling to witness.
Individually, Isaac loved Esau over Jacob. Natural man will almost always choose the firstborn Son to be the heir, but God chose the second, Jacob, to be in the line of succession which would bring Jesus into the world. Jacob was chosen by God, but Isaac chose Esau as his heir and favorite son.
The story of how Jacob prevailed over Isaac’s choice of Esau, is not one which emphasizes deception. God didn’t treat Jacob or Rivkah his mother as wrong actors in the story, there isn’t a word of condemnation for them. The only ones who condemned Jacob was Esau and his uncle Laban.
God chose Jacob, not Esau. Even father Isaac acknowledged this, after finding out that he had been deceived into giving the patriarchal blessing to Jacob. This is how it could be said of Isaac that by faith He blessed His Sons…”.*
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” (Hebrews 11:20)
The faith Isaac operated in was not in his giving a blessing to the right Son, thinking it was the wrong one. The Faith of Isaac is revealed in his Words to Esau once he realized he had been had,
And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.(Genesis 27:32-33)
When Isaac said “…and He shall be blessed…”, He was acknowledging that God was at work, making sure that the right Son received the Patriarchal blessing, in spite of Isaac’s bias.
Jacob had two wives, and two concubines, all of whom he had children by. Only one of them was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, Leah. In spite of all of the machinations of herself, her sister and their maids, Judah came through Leah.
It wouldn’t be adequate to say the sons of Abraham are elect, nor to say children of Isaac, or children of Jacob. All of these could be saved, but not all of them were elected to bring the Messiah into the world.
Within the natural born children of Israel, there has always been a believing remnant. This is the Israel of God. The Israel which believes in her Messiah, and has remained faithful to God, is the Israel which witnesses to God’s faithfulness, even if it is a minuscule minority of the people.
The first answer to the question, has God proven unfaithful to His chosen people Israel, is of course not. God has never failed his true Israel, the believing remnant of the children of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob, the true Israel of God.
* We should note that the election of Jacob over Esau should not be confused with the salvation of this or that individual. The teaching is about the election of entire nations for a specific task, and not about individual salvation. Ishmael and Esau may well have been saved, but neither were chosen to bring in the Messiah.